Since the opening of the Seychelles International Airport in 1971, the tourism sector has been central to the Seychelles economy. The natural beauty of the 115 islands as well as the unique creole culture have not only attracted a growing number of visitors, but have also caused the islands to be a magnet for regional and international companies looking to invest in this sector.
Each year, more visitors are coming to the islands with an approximate number of 361,844 tourists in 2018 alone. Europe remains Seychelles’ main tourism source market, with highest visitor arrivals from Germany, France and Italy. Seychelles has also seen increased numbers from the UK and Swiss markets, as well as in the emerging markets of UAE, Russia, China and India. The Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine is aiming for 405,000 visitors by 2021.
Visitors today have a wide range of options to choose from in terms of accommodation, with 585 operating tourism accommodations, and a total of 12,478 beds to date. These range from world-renown hotel chains such as the Hilton, Kempinski, Savoy, Banyan Tree and Four Seasons to name of few, to smaller hotels, guesthouses, self-catering establishments and villas. Further to this, the inner islands scattered around the main island of Mahé create a safe and calm harbor inside the reef for yachts and schooners also offering accommodation for visitors.
Investment opportunities in tourism accommodation:
In the next 5 years until the ending of 2022, the forecasted number of beds is 6,000. To meet this target, there is a need for investment in tourism accommodations. However it is important to note the following:
- In 2015, the government of Seychelles placed a moratorium on large hotel projects of 25 rooms and above on the Seychelles main inhabited islands of Mahé and the inner islands.
- Accommodations (hotel, guest house, self-catering establishments) between 1 to 15 rooms are reserved to Seychellois only.
- There is growing demand for eco-lodges and eco-boutique hotels
Therefore, the policy for foreign investment in tourism accommodation is as follows:
- Hotel, guest, house, self-catering establishment, motel of 16 to 24 rooms (Foreign equity limited to 80%)
Investment opportunities in other tourism activities:
There is vast opportunity for increased investments in other activities such as the following:
- Exclusive malls
- Entertainment centres
- Specialty restaurants
- Wellness Centre
- Adventure Tourism
- Eco tours
- Coffee shop and bars
- Adventure tourism (zip lining, rock climbing etc…)
The full list of tourism-related activities in which a foreigner and Seychellois may be allowed to invest, can be found in the Seychelles Investment (Economic Activities) Regulations, 2014.
The comparative performance in tourism in the Seychelles in the last few years is a great indicator of the future in store for the country’s tourism sector, with increased visitor arrivals, government revenue, and contribution to output, employment and tourism earnings.
The sector can potentially generate important economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefits in the long term through the projected increase in tourism investments and earnings in the upcoming years. In the continued effort to promote sustainable tourism, some key target segments for the Seychelles tourism sector are ecotourism, cultural tourism and the blue economy.
Sustainable tourism development on its own, can represent a unique and strategic competitive advantage for Seychelles as a tourist destination.
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